Badger History Bulletin - Review
By Thunderchief (Francis Steindorf). If you are interested
in purchasing "Native Realities" please email the
author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The booklet costs $5.00, cassettes are $11.00, and CDs are $16.00.
Prices include tax, postage and packaging. The materials are
also available through the bookstore at the State Historical
Originally published in BHB Volume 1, Number 2
This recording and booklet make a generous gift for Wisconsin
children, their teachers, and their families. Thunderchief (translated
from Wakanjah Hoonk) is Francis Steindorf's Indian name. He
has served as a consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public
Instruction with the American Indian Studies program and brings
both his expertise as an educator and his perspective as a tribal
member of the Ho Chunk Nation to "Native Realities."
Just as students need factual tools in studying Wisconsin history,
they need the intuitive and expressive tools that arts provide
to bring the facts to life. Music, stories and other works of
art supplement and strengthen content curriculum. The songs
Thunderchief includes celebrate interconnecting themes of personal
expression and social, political, and environmental issues.
He suggests that a thematic--based integrated curriculum model
offers the best context in which to showcase this music, and
he has included strategies and extensions for classroom instruction
as well as a timely bibliography.
"Native Realities" offers an exciting and crucial
dimension to social studies curriculum, expanding text-based
material and thereby deepening its content.
Teachers in the elementary grades may wish to use songs such
as "Dreamcatcher" to convey the richness of Ojibwe
and other Indian cultures. Furthermore, several songs might
be introduced with good effect to facilitate discussion on controversial
subjects. "It's a Mockery," for example, may prompt
reflection and discussion of the widespread commercial appropriation
of American Indian symbols. These issues are a part of students'
lives. Thunderchief comments that his nine year--old nephew
was deeply upset when he saw tribal symbols used inappropriately
in a college basketball game. Thunderchief sings: "They're
yelling on the sidelines, but/There's no cheer for the blackman
or the/Brown man or the yellow man, just the redman." The
melody of "It's a Mockery" moves at a meditative pace,
gently carrying these firm words. The strength of the song lies
in its directness and its lack of drama or anger. Thunderchief
is talking to younger people here, trusting that they are reasonable
and will want what is good for all.
Teachers may wish to contrast contemporary songs such as Buffey
Saint Marie's "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" (recently
covered by the Indigo Girls) with "Honor the Treaties"
and "Protect Mother Earth." Another effective strategy
might be to contrast selected songs with historical recordings,
other examples of Wisconsin Indian music and thematically related
Many educators will find the juxtaposition of traditional and
contemporary genres (such as "Honor the Treaties"
written with a reggae beat, jazzy flute solos, and excerpts
from the Lakota National Anthem) rich in teaching possibilities.
A variety of rock, folk and other popular idioms as well as
Ho Chunk, Lakota and Cree/Ojibwe songs will engage listeners
of all ages.
In summary, Thunderchief's "Native Realities" offers
Wisconsin educators a fresh resource for thoughtful exploration
of contemporary music.
Music Education Consultant Madison